Teaching a martial syllabus..

As always I write my blog post on the back of something happening in real life.

There was an interesting post on Facebook about martial arts curriculum.

Now, I don’t want to go down the route of discussing technique or which style is best.

If we do that we get drawn into the political minefield.

Instead, I want to talk about how I use our syllabus to teach.

The syllabus shouldn’t really change, although there may be some additions over the years.

The whole point of having a syllabus is to standardise the teaching process.

Having a syllabus makes teaching group sessions easier and provides a structure for generations to come.

My view of the syllabus changes depending on who I’m teaching..

For beginners I consider the syllabus a set of guidelines.

Let’s compare the process to teaching children to write.

When teaching kids to write, we put guidelines on the page to show them where to write.

This sets up page position or in martial terms body structure and posture.

We give examples of letters so that they may be copied.

We might, depending on the needs of the student, have dots to show how to draw the letters.

This is when we concentrate on the basic or single technique and should be taught using the principles of EDIP:

– Explain
– Demonstrate
– Imitate
– Practice

Then we move on with students are taught groups of techniques which work together.

This again can be compared to writing.

Taking individual letters putting them together to form words.

We give examples of how words are spelt, adding meaning to the previous lessons.

We teach them to use their own finger to separate groups of letters.

This is the same as teaching the student the importance of their own personal range within the guidelines of fighting distance.

The next step is using our groups of techniques against an opponent.

Developing a self-defence scenario is similar to using words to form sentences.

Being able to control the different elements of a fight using the techniques they have learned.

The sentences will gain structure and complexity with the number of words or techniques the student can use.

Final stage is when the student can use their full vocabulary to communicate their own ideas and express them so that others can understand.

They don’t create the story, it writes itself.

This is when the technique is no longer formed by recall but from the needs of the moment.

The free flow of the moment gives the practitioner’s technique a life of it’s own.

Each part of the syllabus changes at this moment to become a snap shot in time.

A position of unforeseen possibilities, progressing from that finite point of time, into a future not yet conceived.

That opens the door to my theories on time, something I’ll leave for another day..

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